EVERY new phone and computer in Russia must have secret government software installed in a scary crackdown on freedom. Russia's lower house of parliament also today passed a bill granting government officials the right to register bloggers, journalists and social media users as foreign agents. Tass in Russia said that the State Duma adopted a bill on the pre-installation of Russian software on smartphones, computers, and televisions with "smart-TV function of applications targeted at the Russian audience". Politicians said the bill would "help promote Russian programmes in the information technology market". The new law will come into force on July 1, 2020. Reuters explained earlier this month that the legislation would allow the government to designate certain locally-produced software as mandatory for devices sold in the country.The lower house of parliament said the bill would also benefit Russian consumers, as it would spare them having to download domestic software after buying … [Read more...] about All new phones and computers in Russia must have secret government software installed in crackdown
Buy home government grants
An upbeat letter arrived recently from my local council, which is the London borough of Islington. Despite cuts in central government funding that mean the council has had to find £122m savings between 2011 to 2015, the letter was pleased to say that the council tax would be frozen for the fifth year running, thereby saving the average payer £375 to date. As I'm in band G, the second-highest, the tax due during the next year will again be £2,101.45 to be divided between Islington and the Greater London Authority, minus a discount of £100 given to "older persons". To hand over £167 a month in exchange for schools, libraries, social services, road mending, street cleaning, refuse collection etc looks a tremendous bargain, though, of course, the expense of these things is mainly met from the business rate and general taxation via central government grants, which have also subsidised the freeze. The controlling instinct of Westminster never lets local government … [Read more...] about Why do we pay more council tax than oligarchs in Knightsbridge palaces?
…Dieziani, Dasuki, Dikko, Dokpesi, Minima, Badeh, Oduah, Jang affectedTHE Federal Government has frozen the bank accounts of suspects being tried in court over allegations of corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, according to online publication, TheCable. This, according to the report, is part of the implementation of the Executive Order No. 6 on the “preservation of suspicious assets connected with corruption and other relevant offences” signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2018. The federal government has also placed a travel ban on the affected persons, but the list is yet to be officially made public. “I issued a cheque of N250,000 to a friend and it was turned down,” said a former minister who was affected. “When I called my account officer, he invited me for a meeting, where I was told there is a ‘post no debit’ instruction on all my accounts because of the executive order. They told … [Read more...] about FG freezes bank accounts of suspects on ‘looters list’
This place is so lovely. advertisement advertisement Cross the Hale County line driving north on the rolling two-lane Alabama State Route 61 and you can’t deny it: the kudzu, the catfish ponds, a picturesque old store called Newbern Mercantile Co. It’s as visually seductive as any rural patch of the so-called Black Belt (a name derived from properties of soil) that stretches across several southern states. And yet this place is so tough. The 15,388 people who inhabit Hale County’s 644 square miles face all the same challenges as residents of similar counties across the rural South, as America becomes ever more urbanized. Jobs are scarce; per-capita income is low; the poverty rate is high; affordable housing is a problem. Most of these places have been largely forgotten. Hale County has not. This is, you could say, by design. Over a period of two decades, 600 or so students have participated in Auburn University’s Rural Studio program, which is … [Read more...] about The Heart of Hale County
A federal judge has temporarily halted the first federal execution in 16 years as a lawsuit on how the government intends to carry it out continues. Attorney General William Barr unexpectedly announced in July that the government would begin resuming executions starting December 9, ending an informal moratorium on federal capital punishment as the issue receded from the public domain. Danny Lee, of Yukon, Oklahoma, was the first person scheduled to be executed but U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan said in a Wednesday evening ruling that the public is not served by 'short-circuiting' legitimate judicial process. The judge mentioned a 1994 federal law that states executions must be 'prescribed by the law of the State in which the sentence is imposed'. In Indiana three drugs - including an anesthetic called sodium thiopental - are used. The judge added in the 15-page letter that 'no statute that gives the BOP or DOJ the authority to establish a single implementation … [Read more...] about First federal executions in 16 years are put on hold as a judge says four men on death row could successfully challenge the new one-drug lethal injection
Eminent cartoonist R K Laxman has died at a Pune hospital at the age of 94.Back in 1997, we had carried an excerpt from Past Forward, an autobiographical book which carried anecdotes of eminent personalities such as painter M.F. Husain, playwright Vijay Tendulkar, musicians Amjad Ali Khan and M S Subbulakshmi, Odissi dancer Kelucharan Mahapatra and Laxman Rediff.com reproduces the 1997 feature about Laxman, his passion for crows, and of course, his genius. Postponed! All decisions postponed! All my life I have painted crows. Singly, in pairs, threesomes, whole murders of them." He breaks off to chuckle. "Don't look so horrified. Murder is the collective noun for crows. Even as a child I had been fascinated by them. They are smart, lively and have a strong survival instinct. The common crow is really an uncommon bird." The speaker is the uncommon creator of that common man who represents the mute millions of this country -- who else but Rasipuram Krishnaswami Laxman, India's most … [Read more...] about The uncommon creator of that Common Man